Experimental music is, without question, a vast chasm of wondrous sights and sounds spanning multiple genres. One can hear anything from the serialized intensity of those who have studied the history of the Darmstadt School, to the borderline static assault of Merzbow, to the ingenious approaches of contemporary composers, and instrumentalists, in the vein of Michael Laurello and Nick Zoulek. Keeping in the realm of the instrumentalists, experimental cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne has woven an intricately powerful web with Worlds Within.
The album is through-composed in a conceptual manner so that only two tracks are not a subsection of a larger track: ‘From Above’ and ‘Fade (Afterglow).’ The rest of the album is loomed together in spectacular fashion. Of particular note are the prominent sections that make up the majority of the album in ‘From Within’, ‘Unending’, and ‘Tumult.’ Each of these areas are devised of multiple sections, and in the case of ‘Unending’, non-consecutively. The minimalistic and introspective layering Weinroth-Browne takes in his compositional approach is stunningly beautiful, and aptly lends itself to the concept of the inner world.
‘Tumult’ is the zenith of the album’s trajectory into the inner machinations of the mind. Weinroth-Browne is able to maintain a digging, almost teetering, drive while weaving ephemeral moments of awe. The mind is both a place of delicate and inspiring creation, and a harrowing hell. Furthermore, they are coexisting in the same flesh and bone. The Canadian cellist’s brilliance shows in the last moments of ‘Tumult’, or ‘Tumult IV’, as the elements of peace and ardor interact with the unnerving nature of the quagmire that all things at some time churn through. Even though these feelings and experiences are part of the temporal nature of life, and must be embraced, they come and go throughout life and ‘Fade’.
After winding and whirling through the inner worlds, Weinroth-Browne takes the listener on one final moment of repose with ‘Unending II’ and in a sense completes the cycle he started. The mind never stops creating beauty and inner conflict. Worlds Within is incredibly special and delicate, and is an album that is truly an expression of being human.
Worlds Within is released 24th January and can be purchased here.
Words by Garrett A. Tanner